I grew up in a town whose population was almost half of the total enrollment of the University of Georgia. The size of my high school graduating class makes up a whopping .7% of the total number of students I'll be graduating with in 2019. And while these numbers hung over my head as I started school at UGA, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace about going to school here.
Athens, Georgia: a college town with a high poverty level and above-average music scene. I knew I was going to enjoy the four years I would spend at school here, but I never knew how much of an impact this place would have on my life. And as the Thanksgiving season is coming to an end, I figured it was time I gave thanks for this new home of mine.
So, thank you, Athens, for:
... giving me a newfound sense of adventure. I find myself wanting to spend every ounce of my free time exploring. Whether it's the Pulaski swing, a random flower field, the Iron Horse, the Tree Room, or the Train Trestle, Athens always finds a way to broaden my sense of adventure (and rid me of my fear of heights).
... showing me how sweet friendships can be. Never in a million years would I have expected to have the friends that I have. They hold me accountable, encourage me, and challenge me to grow deeper in my faith and to be the best version of myself. Athens has brought me the greatest people!!! Wow, I could go on about them forever, but I don't have that kind of time.
... giving me the confidence to stop being a follower and start being a leader. My time in high school was spent trying to be like everyone else. My freshman year was filled with nights of doing what everyone else was doing and mornings of regretting every second of it. I never expected myself to have the courage and confidence to start being ME, not who everyone else wanted me to be.
... letting me fail. In high school, I excelled in sports, music, and academics. I don't think I experienced much failure then. However, college is a whole different story. I learned that B's are still good, and it's okay to not be the best at everything. School is hard! Life is hard! I can't succeed in everything.
... becoming my new home. Going back home to see my family is so sweet and special, but it's weird now. I love Athens. I feel at home here, and I never want to leave! It's crazy how quickly this place has become everything I could have ever asked for.
So, Athens, thank you. Thank you for making the past year and a half better, sweeter, and fuller than I could've ever imagined. You've exceeded my expectations and have proven to be the best thing that's happened to me. I'm so thankful for the time I've gotten to spend here and for the time I have left. Athens, I love you!